ACE Courses & Independent Study

Academic Civic Engagement (ACE) at Carleton College is an approach to education focusing on community-based learning, community-based research, and service learning. ACE Courses may be Applied, which generally indicates that a civic engagement project is an integral part of the course, and often involves collaboration with community partners. ACE can also be Theoretical, meaning that it focuses on the theoretical exploration of civic engagement. These courses may spend a lot of time thinking about issues of public concern, such as policy, social justice, positionality, and different forms of oppression.

See a list of our Current ACE Courses (2019-2020) below, sorted by their Applied or Theoretical lenses, and by term.

Teaching an ACE course? Use this form to request support from CCCE. For additional resources on developing an ethical, collaborative ACE Course, explore the For Faculty and Staff section of the CCCE site.

Applied ACE

Fall 2019

  • HIST 200 - Historians for Hire (Susannah R Ottaway)
    A two-credit course in which students work with faculty oversight to complete public history projects with community partners. Potential projects include educational programming, historical society archival work and other local history opportunities.
  • GEOL 210 - Geomorphology & Lab (Mary E Savina)
    Study of the geological processes and factors which influence the origin and development of the surficial features of the earth, with an emphasis on some or all of the processes in Minnesota. Laboratories and field trips included.
  • ENTS 215 - Environmental Ethics (Kimberly K Smith)
    This course investigates questions such as: can have moral duties towards animals, ecosystems, or future generations; what is the ethical basis for wilderness preservation; and what is the relationship between environmentalism and social justice.
  • ENGL 100 - How We Read: The History and Science of Reading (George G Shuffelton)
    We will examine a variety of reading practices, including reading aloud and silent reading, as well as the emotional impact of reading. In addition to relevant scholarship, we will read poetry and novels as we reflect on our own habits as readers.
  • ARTH 100 - Renaissance, Revolution, and Reformation: The Life and Art of Albrecht Dürer
    This thematically organized course will engage the work of Albrecht Dürer, around issues of theology and social engagement. Discussions will be integrated with student presentations, analyses of primary and scholarly texts, and writing assignments.
  • LING 288 - The Structure of Dakota (Mike Flynn)
    The course examines the endangered language Dakota, which was once spoken on what is today Carleton land. We will study several aspects of the language with the assistance of speakers from the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation.
  • SOAN 314 - Contemporary Issues in Critical Criminology (Annette M Nierobisz)
    This course examines contemporary criminological issues in the U.S., including white collar crime, racial disparities in the criminal justice system, mass incarceration, and punishment, prisoner reentry, and the risk of recidivism.
  • RELG 282 - Samurai: Ethics of Death and Loyalty (Asuka Sango)
    This course explores the history of samurai since the emergence of warrior class in medieval times, to the modern developments of samurai ethics as the icon of Japanese national identity. There will be a weekly kyudo (Japanese archery) practice.
  • POSC 223 - Lab in Electoral Politics (Barbara Allen)
    In this course students learn to conduct focus groups, in-depth interviews, content analysis, and experimental analysis using election news, ads, speeches, and debates (in the U.S. or other democracies) as our cases for analysis.
  • MATH 280 - Statistical Consulting (Adam Loy)
    Students will apply their statistical knowledge by analyzing data problems solicited from the Northfield community. Students will also learn basic consulting skills, including communication and ethics.
  • ENGL 100 - Drama, Film, and Society (Pierre Hecker)
    The course explores the ways in which plays and movies generate meaning, with particular attention to the social, historical, and political realities that contribute to that meaning. Students in this course will live performances in the Twin Cities.
  • IDSC 298 - FOCUS Sophomore Colloquium (Deborah S Gross)
    This colloquium is designed for sophomore students participating in the Focusing on Cultivating Scientists program. It will provide an opportunity to participate in STEM-based projects on campus and in the community.
  • CAMS 270 - Nonfiction (Laska Jimsen)
    This course addresses nonfiction media as both art form and historical practice by exploring the expressive, rhetorical, and political possibilities of nonfiction production. We will create community videos in partnership with local organizations.
  • BIOL 215 - Agroecology (David Hougen-Eitzman)
    This course focuses on the scientific aspects of food production, involving application of principles of ecosystem and population ecology to agricultural systems. Several types of local farms will be visited - large, small, organic, and conventional.
  • BIOL 216 - Agroecology Lab (David Hougen-Eitzman)
    These lab sessions will mainly involve visits to local area farms. This will include a community engagement aspect, where students complete projects that provide services to farmers or community organizations.
  • CCST 100 - Growing Up Cross-Culturally (Stephanie M Cox)
    This course enables American and international students to compare how their own and other societies view birth, infancy, adolescence, marriage, adulthood, and old age - using children's books, child-rearing manuals, movies, and ethnographies.
  • EDUC 234 - Educational Psychology (Deborah Appleman)
    Human development and learning theories are studied in relation to the teaching-learning process and the sociocultural context of schools. Students in this course spend 3 hours per week observing and working with students in public school classrooms.

Winter 2020

  • CS 399.01 - Senior Seminar (Sneha Narayan)
    As part of their senior capstone experience, majors will work together in teams (typically four to seven students per team) on faculty-specified topics to design and implement the first stage of a project. Required of all senior majors.
  • PE 340 - Sports and Globalization in London and Seville: Introductory Coaching Practicum (Bob Carlson)
    This course will cover introductory methods of coaching and teaching young athletes. Students will practice teaching skills, structure, and strategies of team-oriented sports, as well as creating a philosophy of coaching in a cross-cultural setting.
  • BIOL 372 - Seminar: Structural Biology (Rou-Jia Sung)
    This course will provide an overview and discussions of fundamental experimental methodologies underlying structure determination. Students will be collaborating with the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul to work with children.
  • MATH 280 - Statistical Consulting (Adam Loy)
    Students will apply their statistical knowledge by analyzing data problems solicited from the Northfield community. Students will also learn basic consulting skills, including communication and ethics.
  • IDSC 298 - FOCUS Sophomore Colloquium (Deborah S Gross)
    This colloquium is designed for sophomore students participating in the Focusing on Cultivating Scientists program. It will provide an opportunity to participate in STEM-based projects on campus and in the community.
  • MUSC 192 - West African Drum Ensemble (Jay L Johnson)
    The ensemble will use indigenous instruments and an African approach to musical training in order to learn and perform rhythms and songs from West Africa.
  • CCST 275 - I'm A Stranger Here Myself (Éva S Pósfay)
    This course explores theories about intercultural contact and tests their usefulness by applying them to the analysis of world literature, case studies, and the visual arts, and by employing students' intercultural experiences as evidence.
  • HIST 200 - Historians for Hire (Susannah R Ottaway)
    A two-credit course in which students work with faculty oversight to complete public history projects with community partners. Potential projects include educational programming, historical society archival work and other local history opportunities.
  • PHYS 143 - Physical Systems: Mechanics and Relativity & Lab (Helen K Minsky)
    The course starts with an introduction to classical mechanics using Newtonian worldview. The course moves past the Newtonian framework to address topics such as special relativity and selected applications to atomic, nuclear, and particle physics.
  • SOAN 262 - Anthropology of Health and Illness (Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg)
    This course examines patients, practitioners, and the social networks and contexts through which therapies are managed to better understand medical systems as well as the significance of the anthropological study of misfortune.

Spring 2020

  • RELG 243 - Native American Religious Freedom (Michael D McNally)
    This course explores historical and legal contexts in which Native Americans have practiced their religions in the United States. Service projects will engage students in matters of particular concern to contemporary, local native communities.
  • PSYC 260 - Health Psychology (Gisel Flores-Montoya)
    This course examines how psychological principles can be employed to promote and maintain health. Students in groups will critically examine the effects of local policies on health outcomes and propose policy changes supported by theory and research.
  • RELG 289 - Global Religions in Minnesota (Michael D McNally)
    This course bridges theoretical knowledge with engaged field research focused on how Midwestern contexts shape global religious communities and how these communities challenge and transform Minnesota.
  • SPAN 225 - Exile in Literature and History (Humberto R Huergo)
    This course examines four different moments in the history of Spanish exile: the mass expulsion of Jews in 1492, that of moriscos in 1609, the Liberal exile in 1823, and the Republican exile at the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939.
  • ARTS 230 - Ceramics: Throwing (Kelly Connole)
    This course is focused on the creative possibilities of the pottery wheel as a means to create utilitarian objects. Basic glaze and clay calculations, high fire and wood kiln firing techniques, and the Empty Bowls Project are included in the course.
  • SPAN 244 - Spain Today: Recent Changes through Narrative and Film (Palmar M Álvarez-Blanco)
    Since the death of Franco in 1975, Spain has undergone huge political, socio-economic, and cultural transformations. With contemporary narrative and film, this course examines these changes and how they contribute to the creation of Spain.
  • WGST 240 - Gender, Globalization and War (Meera Sehgal)
    This course examines the relationship between globalization, gender and militarism to understand how globalization and militarism are gendered, and processes through which gender becomes globalized and militarized.
  • MATH 280 - Statistical Consulting (Adam Loy)
    Students will apply their statistical knowledge by analyzing data problems solicited from the Northfield community. Students will also learn basic consulting skills, including communication and ethics.
  • HIST 200 - Historians for Hire (Susannah R Ottaway)
    A two-credit course in which students work with faculty oversight to complete public history projects with community partners. Potential projects include educational programming, historical society archival work and other local history opportunities.
  • GEOL 258 - Geology of Soils & Lab (Mary E Savina)
    The study of soil formation, and physical and chemical properties of soils especially as related to geomorphology and land use. Laboratories and field trips will emphasize how to describe and interpret soils.
  • ENGL 371 - Advanced Poetry Workshop (Gregory G Hewett)
    For students with some experience in writing poetry, this workshop uses readings and exercises to expand the poet's individual range, and to explore the power of poetic language. Over 10 weeks, each poet will write and revise a significant portfolio.
  • EDUC 338 - Multicultural Education (Angela Valenzuela)
    This course focuses on human diversity, especially as it relates to various racial, cultural and economic groups, and to women. It includes lectures and discussions that aid students in relating to a wide variety of persons, cultures, and life styles
  • HIST 335 - Ireland: Land, Conflict, Memory (Susannah R Ottaway)
    This course explores the history of Ireland from Medieval times through the Great Famine, ending with the Partition of Ireland in 1920. We explore the contested nature of history through analyses of monuments and memory production in public spaces.
  • IDSC 298 - FOCUS Sophomore Colloquium (Deborah S Gross)
    This colloquium is designed for sophomore students participating in the Focusing on Cultivating Scientists program. It will provide an opportunity to participate in STEM-based projects on campus and in the community.
  • PHYS 143 - Physical Systems: Mechanics and Relativity & Lab (Chris West)
    The course starts with an introduction to classical mechanics using Newtonian worldview. The course moves past the Newtonian framework to address topics such as special relativity and selected applications to atomic, nuclear, and particle physics.
  • MUSC 192 - West African Drum Ensemble (Jay L Johnson)
    The ensemble will use indigenous instruments and an African approach to musical training in order to learn and perform rhythms and songs from West Africa.
  • EDUC 395 - Senior Seminar (Jeff Snyder)
    This is a capstone seminar for educational studies minors. It focuses on a contemporary issue in American education with a different topic each year. Recent seminars have focused on the school to prison pipeline and gender and sexuality in education.
  • PHYS 235 - Electricity and Magnetism & Lab (Helen K Minsky)
    Electric and magnetic fields in free space, and their interactions with charges and currents. Topics include DC and AC circuits, Maxwell's equations, and electromagnetic waves. Weekly laboratory work.

Theoretical ACE

Fall 2019

  • IDSC 203 - Talking About Diversity (Sharon A Akimoto)
    This course prepares students to facilitate conversations about diversity. Students learn about social identity, power, and inequality, and explore how race, gender, class, and sexual orientation affect individual experience and communal structures.
  • ECON 270 - Economics of the Public Sector (Jenny Bourne)
    This course examines the government's role in the U.S. economy. Topics include rationales for government intervention; analysis of alternative public expenditure programs; models of collective choice; intergovernmental fiscal relations.

Winter 2020

  • POSC 120 - Democracy and Dictatorship (Eric S Mosinger)
    An introduction to different democratic and authoritarian political institutions. We will explore key issues in contemporary politics, such as nationalism and independence movements, revolution, regime change, state-making, and social movements.
  • HIST 138 - Crusades, Mission, and the Expansion of Europe (Victoria Morse)
    This course examines the complex roles of crusade and mission in the gradual expansion of Europe into the eastern Mediterranean, the Iberian peninsula, the Baltic, and even Central Asia, with opportunities to share knowledge with a broader public.
  • SPAN 328 - The Contemporary Spanish Fictional Essay (Palmar M Álvarez-Blanco)
    This course studies what has been labeled, aesthetically and sociologically, the Post-Modernist age. We also study the relationship between "postmodernism," the late-capitalist era and the "culture of contentment" or "culture of well-being."

Spring 2020

  • HIST 226 - U.S. Consumer Culture (Annette Igra)
    We will explore the development of consumer culture through such topics as advertising and mass media, the body and sexuality, consumerist politics in the labor movement, and the response to the Americanization of consumption abroad.